(MANHASSET, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum (D - Great Neck) joined Nassau County Executive Laura Curran at the historic Lakeville AME Zion Church in Manhasset to commemorate Juneteenth.Juneteenth is the oldest nationally recognized celebration of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Specifically, it marks the date in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas - one of the most remote corners of the recently-defeated Confederacy - and announced the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery under President Abraham Lincoln’s Jan. 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
Historians believe that Lakeville AME Zion Church, which was established around 1820, was a stop on the Underground Railroad’s network of secret routes and safe houses utilized by enslaved African Americans to escape into free states and Canada prior to emancipation. Situated at the focal point of a large African American community during the 19th century, Lakeville AME Zion Church and its adjacent cemetery are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.“Recognizing Juneteenth at Lakeville AME Zion Church - a cherished historic treasure in our community that opened its doors to a nationwide network of abolitionists that toiled relentlessly to subvert the evils of slavery - was a truly humbling, meaningful experience,” Legislator Birnbaum said. “We can draw tremendous inspiration from the courageous example set forth by these heroic figures and call upon their valor as we continue to speak out against racism and raise our collective voice in pursuit of justice, healing and peace.”